Thursday, February 22

Europe

ECB Raises Interest Rates Less Hard in the Fight Against Inflation
Business, Europe, News

ECB Raises Interest Rates Less Hard in the Fight Against Inflation

The European Central Bank (ECB) has raised interest rates again in the fight against high inflation. However, that went less fast; this time, a quarter of a percentage point was added compared to half a percentage point last time. Interest rates are now back at the level of 2008, at the beginning of the financial crisis. Central bank policymakers continue to look to macroeconomic data for subsequent interest rate decisions. However, they are not moving forward on that yet. The ECB introduced this data-driven approach earlier this year. Before that, they often indicated that even more interest rate hikes were needed. But in the meantime, central bankers have become more cautious. This is because the consequences of interest rate increases are not measurable after some time. In...
Minister: French Shops Will Lower Food Prices Because of Inflation
Business, Europe, France, News

Minister: French Shops Will Lower Food Prices Because of Inflation

The French government has agreed with large retailers that they will significantly reduce the prices of their food products. With this, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wants to accommodate consumers, who have had to deal with rising costs in recent months. Le Maire says prices will be reduced "to the lowest possible level" until June. He indicates that the companies agreed to bear the price reductions' costs. These would amount to "several hundreds of millions of euros", according to Le Maire. Most major food retailers in France took part in the talks. According to the national statistics agency Insee, food prices in France rose 14.5 percent year-on-year in February. Le Maire thinks he can make an "anti-inflation quarter" with the second-quarter measure. Consumer organization...
European Prosecutor Seizes 170,000 Euros From Italian Mep
Europe, Italy, News

European Prosecutor Seizes 170,000 Euros From Italian Mep

The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) has seized more than €170,000 from Italian MEP Stefania Zambrelli and four associates. The seizure is part of an investigation into possible fraud with parliamentary fees. The investigation, led by the European Public Prosecutor's Office and carried out by the Italian financial police (Guardia di Finanza), looks into possible fraud involving the remuneration of four parliamentary assistants recruited in Italy. This fraud would harm the European budget. According to the evidence, the four employees involved did not carry out or only partially carried out the activities for which they were hired and tampered with the documents they were required to submit to the European Parliament. It is also suspected that the Italian MP concerne...
EU is Building Up Additional Stocks Against Nuclear and Chemical Emergencies
Europe, News

EU is Building Up Additional Stocks Against Nuclear and Chemical Emergencies

After Finland, France, Croatia, and Poland also established a European strategic reserve of protective equipment against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents (CBRN), the European Commission announced on Monday. The European strategic stocks include antibiotics, vaccines, antidotes, gas masks and protective equipment. The four reserves have a total value of 546.6 million euros. The European budget covers all costs. The material can be sent from these four locations to the affected Member States or partner countries in emergencies or threatening situations. According to the Commission, the war in Ukraine underlines the need for European countries to be prepared. “We have identified CBRN as a priority health threat that we must guard against at the European leve...
Berlusconi Acquitted by Court in Milan in Bunga Bunga Corruption Scandal
Europe, Italy, News

Berlusconi Acquitted by Court in Milan in Bunga Bunga Corruption Scandal

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted on Wednesday by a court in Milan in a corruption case involving the so-called 'bunga bunga' parties. He was accused of bribing witnesses to lie. Milan's public prosecutor's office had demanded six years in prison against Berlusconi, 86, on charges of perjury and tampering with testimony. For the politician, who was not present at the trial, it was the umpteenth in a long line of cases he has faced in recent years, most of which he has won. The trial in Milan is an outgrowth of the 'Rubygate' scandal and the 'bunga bunga' parties with young women that took place more than a decade ago at Berlusconi's villa. The parties led to several lawsuits. Earlier, a judge in Rome also acquitted Berlusconi of similar bribery cha...
Gas Price Falls Further Due to Lower Consumption and Full Storage
Business, Europe, News

Gas Price Falls Further Due to Lower Consumption and Full Storage

The European gas price fell further on Monday to the lowest level in almost a month. The drop follows growing confidence that Europe will get through the winter without fuel rationing due to lower consumption and full storage. On the important Amsterdam gas exchange, the price per megawatt hour fell by 4 percent to 51.79 euros on Monday morning. With a price level of around 50 euros, the gas price is once again close to the lowest levels since September 2021. At the height of the energy crisis at the end of August last year, more than 300 euros per megawatt hour still had to be paid. Fears that Europe could experience gas rationing and power cuts this winter have not materialized due to a combination of factors. First, mild weather conditions limited the demand for gas for heati...
Sweden’s Largest Energy Exporter in Europe in 2022
Business, Europe, News, Sweden

Sweden’s Largest Energy Exporter in Europe in 2022

The energy crisis in Europe last year turned the energy trade upside down. For example, in 2022, Sweden will overtake France as the region's largest exporter. This was mainly because France had to shut down several obsolete nuclear power plants for maintenance work last year. Sweden sent 33 terawatt hours to other countries last year. The Scandinavian country thus became Europe's top exporter for the first time, according to data from ENTSO-E analyzed by consultancy Rystad Energy. ENTSO-E is the European Network of Electricity Transmission System Operators. France, which has many nuclear power plants, was still Europe's largest exporter of energy in 2021. However, the problems with the nuclear power plants made the country the second-largest energy importer by 2022. The United K...
ECB Raises Interest Rates Sharply Again in Battle Against High Inflation
Business, Europe, News

ECB Raises Interest Rates Sharply Again in Battle Against High Inflation

The European Central Bank (ECB) raises its interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point for the second time in a row. This equals the central bank's largest interest rate hike ever in the fight against sharply rising inflation in the eurozone. The ECB also indicates that further rate hikes are likely to be needed to bring inflation back to normal levels. Inflation is still far too high and will remain above the 2 percent target for an extended period, the interest rate decision statement said. Moreover, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, life in the euro area has rapidly become more expensive. Energy prices, in particular, are skyrocketing. The idea behind the interest rate hikes is that borrowing becomes more expensive. So people and companies will eventually spend...
Eurozone Inflation Remains Just Below 10 Percent in September
Business, Europe, News

Eurozone Inflation Remains Just Below 10 Percent in September

Inflation in the euro area remained just below 10 percent in September. However, based on definitive figures, the European statistical office Eurostat reported that life in the euro area became 9.9 percent more expensive last month than a year ago. An inflation rate of exactly 10 percent was previously reported for September. However, in August, inflation was still 9.1 percent. Despite the slight adjustment, inflation has thus risen to a new record. Of course, inflation has been very high for some time because gas and electricity prices have risen sharply. But those higher energy costs are also increasingly affecting food prices. Inflation in the Netherlands is significantly higher than the average in the eurozone. According to the European measurement method, Dutch inflation...
Criticism of American Billion-Dollar Investment Energy Company RWE
Business, Europe, Germany, News, US

Criticism of American Billion-Dollar Investment Energy Company RWE

The German energy group RWE will invest billions in sustainable energy projects in the United States. It is one of the largest green deals ever in the US. But there is also criticism. An activist investor who has bought into RWE would rather see the energy company invest in the domestic energy sector. With the deal worth approximately 6.8 billion dollars (almost 7 billion euros), RWE is doubling its energy portfolio in the US to more than 7 gigawatts. The transaction is made partly by the investment fund of Qatar, which will become a major shareholder of RWE with an investment of more than 2 billion euros. Qatar and Germany signed an agreement in May to intensify their energy cooperation. But Benedikt Kormaier of investor Enkraft Capital, which holds about a million shares in...